No country for Rohingya people

Sorat Alam, a Rohingya leader, yearns for home, but the trauma of being brutalised in Myanmar deters him from going back to the Rakhine State. Mr. Alam and his parents fled to safety in Bangladesh after Myanmar’s Army launched widespread assaults on the Rohingya, a Muslim minority group, in August 2017 in retaliation against armed attacks on security forces. “We won’t go back if the Myanmar government doesn’t grant us citizenship and if the UN doesn’t provide safety,” said Mr. Alam, a 35-year-old man who supervises a cluster of Rohingya families in Cox’s Bazar, home to the world’s largest refugee camp. Mr. Alam has been working as a headman for 140 Rohingya families since he arrived in Cox’s Bazar with his 65-year-old ailing mother and 70-year-old father. “Bangladesh has provided us with food and shelter, but nothing has changed in Rakhine. We don’t want to go back.” Mr. Alam’s conditions mirror the plight of about one million refugees stuck in overcrowded camps in and around the southeastern district of Cox’s Bazar, an economically disadvantaged district. More than 7,00,000 Rohingya women, men, and children have crossed into Bangladesh since August 2017, and ended up in refugee camps here. The influx added to the existing vulnerabilities of the host community and put enormous pressure on scarce resources and food prices. Much of the land occupied by the refugees is prone to flooding and landslips. About 2,00,000 people are at risk as their shacks are perched on the clay hills. A large swathe of the area is scarred by widespread deforestation. As the rights groups mark the first anniversary of the Rohingya exodus, Bangladesh and Myanmar are continuing their talks to open a path for repatriation of the refugees.

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